I recently read a tweet where a woman was laughing at the notion of pick-up artists (“PUAs”) and the methods they use. She was dismissive of the art of pick-up as a whole and laughed at the idea of “tricks” to pick up women. And it got me thinking that so many, women and men alike, still don’t get it.

Some do, don’t get me wrong, but a lot still don’t.

The world of PUAs and the seduction community were introduced to more mainstream circles back in 2008, when VH1 decided to fire up a series starring one of the most well-known pickup artists, Erik von Markovik aka Mystery, at the helm.

The VH1 series, predictably enough, was the network vying to cash in on the phenomenon that Neil Strauss brought to the forefront with his 2005 book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. At the time, Neil Strauss was a writer and author more well-known for writing for Rolling Stone, or for touring with Marilyn Manson for a book on the rock star. And yet in the middle of a successful writing career, he decided to stop everything and change courses a bit.

Here is where our story begins.

You see, the one thing in Neil’s life that bothered him was that he couldn’t understand why he, on any given night, couldn’t meet a good-looking, interesting, sophisticated woman at a bar and take her home. Seems easy enough, right? I mean, this happens all the time. Everywhere.

And yet it wouldn’t happen for Neil. Ever. No girl he was interested in would be interested in him. In fact, he mentions in his book that he didn’t have sex once during his college career. He couldn’t figure out why, which was crippling for him. So he set out to find out why that was and what he could do to change that. He started by engulfing himself in literature. He thought to himself, “I can’t be the only one going through this, so there must be tons of writings about this and how to overcome it.” And sure enough, he found some books, articles, and even some message boards with sound advice. But it wasn’t until he came across a secret, undercover world of guys who were starting to look at the art of pick-up as a science that things started clicking. This group of guys felt that, if they systematically and meticulously studied women and what women are attracted to, then they could practice, and practice and practice, those very techniques until they start getting the results they were searching for. These guys, much like Neil, wanted to understand why some men naturally do things and say things women are attracted to, the “naturals,” as the PUAs call them, and why some men don’t and instead need to be taught to do those things. “And that was fine,” they thought, “once we learn this ourselves, we can teach other men how to overcome their shortcomings.” So Neil completely immersed himself in this world and came out of it all a different person. I won’t go through his entire book. but if you’re inclined to read his journey, then you should pick up a copy.

I’ll expect my check in the mail, Neil.

So, you may ask yourself, why exactly do PUAs do what they do?

Here is the fundamental takeaway and why the teachings of a pick-up artist are important — if a man can’t figure out how to have a conversation with a woman he meets and likes, he will absolutely feel emasculated, and those negative feelings will trickle down to every other aspect of his life. So much so, actually, that another well-known PUA, David DeAngelo, starts off his trainings by stressing that you need to go to work on yourself and your self-image before you ever go to work on women. And he’s absolutely right, of course. Otherwise things get ugly quickly. Neil not only understood this, but was experiencing these very emotions. And that’s why he started his journey. Not merely to get laid, but to completely revitalize the way he saw himself and, in turn, the way women responded to him.

And, as he says, it completely changed his life. Neil is now in love, married, and has a son.

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss, of course, is only one man and one story. There are countless others.

PUAs, such as Mystery, travel the world holding seminars and educating those who are searching for what Neil was searching for. Additionally, Mystery has a good amount of content on YouTube.

It’s easy to be dismissive of something, but there’s usually more to the story than at first appears.

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